Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Custom Build Rune Review

Words and Photos by Scott Smith:

Build List:
Frame- Banshee Rune, Medium
Shock- Elka Stage 5 with Diverse suspension to srping, 450lb. (I'm 170lbs w/o gear)
Fork- 2010 Fox Float 36rc2
Headset- K9 Arc -1 degree
Bars- Chromag OSX, full width
Stem- Transition temple lite
Brakes: Avid Elixir R, 203/160mm rotors
Shifters & R. der- Sram X-9 w/matchmakers
F. Der- SLX double
Cranks: Slx double, 24/36 w/ dark cycles bashguard
Pedals- strialtline
seatpost- Praxys (quite nice too). Will pick up a 5" drop gravity dropper when they come out.
Seat- Chromag Lynx DT
Wheels- Mavic 819 rims, Hope pro2 bolt-on rear, marzocchi front. XT12-34 cassette. I have some mavic 823's I will lace up for burlier trails.
Tires- kenda Nevegal UST 2.35 front, Bontrager Big Earl 2.35 rear

I've got about a dozen good rides in on my Rune now… for sure, still in the honeymoon period, but by now I have put the bike through it's paces and it's proven itself to be even better than I expected! It's seen several night rides, including one where we got lost and had to slog out on soft, freshly-made dirt-roads that were covered with 6" deep thick sticky clay mud… it's seen a few visits to our local secret stash, which features fire-road climbs to steep loose descents with lots of step-downs, booters and steep switchbacks....it's been to our local skills park (under construction) where I sessioned jump lines, wood gaps and 450' log rides…it's seen 2600' of singletrack climbing on a night ride…. and it's been on trail-building missions where my building buddies and I used it to break in some new features.

Through it all, the main thing that stands out is how versatile, capable and confidence-inspiring the Rune is.

The Rune replaces both my previous 40lb, 7&7" FR bike and my 33lb, 6&6" AM/trail bike. Based on my test-rides, I knew the rune could cover both bases, but I wasn't quite expecting just how well it would cover the extremes. As it turns out, replacing two more expensive bikes with a single Banshee has defintiely been an upgrade! I much prefer it over my previous "bigger" bike for freeride trails. The rune is incredibly stiff, and the lighter weight leaves me with more energy to ride aggressively. With the K9 cups, the head angle is perfectly slack for surfing steep terrain, yet the lighter weight, stiffness, and shorter wheelbase make for a great jump bike. Much more flickable than my previous steeds. As a result of all this, I have felt my confidence (and the size of moves I'm hitting) increase tremendously in just a few weeks. That's a great way to begin the season!

On the other end of the spectrum, the Rune is incredibly efficient on the climbs. No squat and no bob, every pedal stroke drives the bike quietly forward. I am running a 26t granny gear in front, and really haven't missed the easier gears thanks to the Rune's light weight. I haven't weighed my bike properly, but it's easily in the low 30lb range. Definitely all-day (and all-night) friendly.

In short, the Rune has really reminded me that comparing numbers, angles and suspension acronyms on the internet won't tell you much about how a bike really rides. The proof is in the ride, and the Rune delivers big time.

A few notes on the build-
The Elka shock is rad. Very firm feeling, but in a good way. I notice that when I have told people "it feels very firm, lots of low-speed compression", their first reaction isn't always favorable… but then they get on the bike and immediately smile & nod! It's a difficult sensation to describe, again you have to ride it to appreciate it. Paired with the Rune suspension design, it's simply a very efficient package that can be tuned to be very supple on smalll stuff, chatter and high speed hits… yet it will not blow through travel on mid-size roots and feels very progressive when landing jumps and drops. Tuning the elka in is a little different- I would suggest starting with both compressions backed all the way off, set sag, and then add low speed, then high speed as needed. I weigh 175lbs, using a 450lb spring, and am running about 4-6 clicks of LS and 1-2 of HS.

The Float 36 rc2 is a great combination with the Rune & Elka. Both ends of the bike feel plush yet ride high in their travel on typical trail stuff.

The Kindshock post has been great so far, it's definitely been dunked in muck but still runs smooth. Only time will tell, but I sure hope it continues to work like it does now. The other day we rode a trail that had a bunch of uphill elevated ladders, it was great to be able to lower the seat just 2" for the climbs then slam it for ladder drops.

I'm looking forward to a great season on this bike and will post updates here. Enjoy the ride!